Food really does taste better when it looks good, scientists claim
A salad version of Wassily Kandinsky’s Painting Number 201 was tested
Friday 20 June 2014
Scientists have finally proved that food tastes better when it looks good – and the trick even works on salad.
An abstract painting was used as the model by psychologists testing the theory.
People preferred the flavour of the artistic dish over the same ingredients jumbled together or placed neatly but uncreatively on a plate.
The 60 volunteers, aged 18 to 58, also said they would be willing to pay more for the salad based on Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky’s Painting Number 201.
The research was led by Professor Charles Spence, from Oxford University's Department of Experimental Psychology.
A report in the journal Flavour concluded: “Eating the food led to an increase in ratings of the tastiness of the food in the case of the art-inspired dish, likely showing that the aesthetic value of this visual arrangement made the food more enjoyable to eat.
"The results of the study… provide evidence for the idea that there are differences in the expectations and consumption experience of a dish as a result of the various elements having been artistically arranged on the plate.
"Diners intuitively attribute an artistic value to the food, find it more complex, and like it more when the culinary elements are arranged to look like an abstract-art painting."
The salad included of a total of 30 ingredients, including Portobello mushrooms, broccoli, endive, red and yellow peppers, cauliflower, and mange-tout.
It also featured a variety of sauces, such as beetroot and carrot puree, cauliflower and lemongrass creme and mushroom essence with squid ink.
Jozef Youssef, a chef and food scientist who founded the experimental gastronomy project Kitchen Theory, contributed to the experiment.
Inspired by the results, he and staff from publishing house BioMed Central created a range of other dishes inspired by famous works from artists including Picasso, Magritte and Rothko.
Charles Michel, a freelance chef and researcher with the Oxford team, said: “Using artistic inspiration in the design of the culinary experience, even when used implicitly, can indeed enhance the enjoyment of food.”
Additional reporting by PA
Read more: Why is a Mediterranean diet so good for you?
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Edgar Froese dead: Tangerine Dream founder dies aged 70
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...